Sen. Cory Booker Breaks Down What 'Defund the Police' Means to Him

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) told The Root during an Instagram live interview on Juneteenth that he agrees with the spirit of the “defund the police” movement but is not for an all-out abolishment of law enforcement. He also delved into what exactly defunding the police looks like from his perspective and how getting rid of qualified immunity in the case of police officers accused of killing people would bring more accountability to policing.

Sen. Booker also discussed LGBTQ+ rights, the recent SCOTUS rulings, COVID 19 relief efforts in the Senate and much more during his hourlong interview with The Root. Check out the video above.

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Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior reporter at The Root. He is currently writing a book proposal that analyzes US-Russia relations from a black perspective.

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DISCUSSION

Its nice to see Booker just talking, outside the context of Congress, without the need to make “big” statements. He says good things there too, but I like him better when he relaxes like this, his ideas are more interesting, there’s knowledge, honesty, teaching, and humor in him that isn’t there on the ridiculous debate stages. So, good to see this.

Angela Davis points out that the largest social program in America is the prison system. The kind of sentence you’d like to say, and leave people to think about for a half hour.

As I interpret defunding, so much of it is waking up to the fact that all of this is a choice, none of the criminal justice system is permanent or immutable, all of it is fluid. That the mythology of cop shows is childish and stupid, and a horrible basis from which to think and govern. People are so hysterically resisitant to changing a speck of it. Its like you have to run around and slap your hands in front of people’s faces, wake them from a trance, and ask if they are proud of owning it.

Its complex and such simple common sense at the same time. And nobody much likes to think about the police, courts, the prisons. But defunding means for Americans to know that they are in charge and responsible for every iota of the cruelty and oppression. That it isn’t somebody else that runs the War on Drugs, Rikers, 3 strikes, or kids in cages, but we do.

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